Parents do play a part in truancy;Letter

29th October 1999 at 01:00
YOUR correspondent CR Shute (TES, October 8) claims that David Blunkett's assaults on truants' parents is misdirected, and that schools should tackle truancy by providing more stimulating and enjoyable learning environments.

I can confidently assert that my own truancy-free attendance record was not solely due to personal interest in school. Like most pupils I found that secondary school, in particular, savoured rather more of endurance than excitement. Threats from school and personal motivation would not have got me in the classroom every morning had not additional support from home played its part.

While teachers should be encouraged and enabled to make school interesting for pupils, the burden of expectation currently laid on the teaching profession by society is unrealistic and ultimately damaging.

However questionable Labour's tactics in tackling truancy through the parents of difficult pupils, the importance of support from home to reinforce a teacher's work in the classroom cannot be overstated.

Helen Waite

University of Durham

45 Moor Crescent

Gilesgate Moor, Durham

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